December 15th, 2013

"Affluenza":  A Condition or An Excuse?

By Ron Nakamoto

The New York Times article below describes the debate surrounding the case of Ethan Couch, a teenager from a wealthy family who killed four people while driving drunk.  Couch, who pleaded guilty to the crime, was sentenced to 10 years of probation instead of a prison sentence that the prosecution had sought.

Here are two very different responses to the verdict:

“They make mistakes, they’re prone to impulsive behavior…And at the same time, they are capable of change” – Liz Ryan, President, Campaign for Youth Justice.

"Just when you think our excuse-making culture has sunk as low as it can go, somebody goes yet lower” – Kent Scheidegger, legal director of the Criminal Justice Legal Foundation.

Perhaps both Ms. Ryan and Mr. Scheidegger are justified in their thinking because they're focusing on different aspects of a larger truth.  Setting aside the issue of fairness and justice in the Couch case, we know that the existence of "Affluenza", a loosely defined term that generally describes an attitude or mindset of "entitlement", bodes poorly for families that aspire to multi-generational True Wealth.  The case of Ethan Couch is a reminder that reducing the prevalence of an attitude of entitlement would be a small step in a positive direction.


Embedded Link

Teenager’s Sentence in Fatal Drunken-Driving Case Stirs ‘Affluenza’ Debate
Questions have been raised about the role of family wealth in the sentencing of a 16-year-old behind the wheel in an accident that killed four people in North Texas.

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One Response to “"Affluenza":  A Condition or An Excuse?”

  1. grant marlenee

    It's a very poor lawyer who can't pin the blame squarely on the dead people.  I couldn't use the word victim, because the victim here is obviously the person who was forced to cause the deaths by crashing his car into the people who shouldn't have been in his way in the first place.

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